For some of us, the beauty of a book lies in the solitude, the way we dive into the pages and lose ourselves in the gentle current of others’ lives. The world falls away, time is contained and dispersed through the whim and work of the author. Left to revel in silence, the reader listens only to sound of the imagination. For others, a book is something to be passed around, a currency of connection that can spawn ideas, spur inspiration. A coffee table book, a novel read aloud to a lover, a family’s favorite bed time story: we crave these literary tangos much in the way we savor cooking together, sharing a good movie. Lately I’ve taken to keeping a few interesting library books on my coffee table, ready to be recommended to family and friends. Today I’d like to share with you a few excellent shareables, all new to our library, and all relying on photography to tell their unique tale…
Humans of New York
New Yorker Brandon Stanton got his first camera in 2010 and fell in love. He made it his mission to capture the interesting and ever changing sea of faces in his city and within no time he had a project: Humans of New York. Stanton’s blog and Facebook page, featuring each portrait along with a short caption, quickly went viral and within three years his project had blossomed into a book. The photographs are in turn funny, touching, and surprising and they expose the heart of the city in the way only a photograph can. Although I’ve never been to New York, I felt like I was able to take a little slice of the Big Apple home with me.
According to photographer Mark Nixon, “Much Loved started as a very simple idea: to photograph some ‘loved to bits’ teddy bears for an exhibition…” He put out the call for people to bring in their most beloved bear-“the more loved, unwashed, and falling apart the better”-and he would display the results in his gallery. As he began to gather photos, he realized the importance of the animals’ background stories and began to collect them as well. As with Stanton’s Humans of New York, it was the online publicity that was the kicker: after uploading the images to his website, the project drew the attention of millions around the world. The resulting book is one to share with loved ones of all ages, especially those who have a treasured teddy bear or other comfort object. After sharing this book with a few LPL children’s librarians, I heard enthusiastic cooing for what seemed like hours.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art would like to help you answer the question, “What is art?” Each two page spread features a piece from the museum’s “vast collection of over two million objects” along with the phrase “Art is…” and the Met’s take on the answer. “Art is history” sums up a painting entitled Washington Crossing the Delaware. “Art is hidden” reads the caption next to a seventeen century corset. “Art is imagination” speaks for Pablo Picasso’s The Dreamer. Though this book is all fluff and all opinion, it may encourage the reader to expand his or her definition of what constitutes art. It left me feeling that perhaps art is everything.
- Rachael Perry, Adult Services